Gangs of Wasseypur Part 1

Anurag Kashyap's epic, selected for Directors' Fortnight Cannes 2012, charts the decades-long conflict between two families involved in coal mining and organised crime in Wasseypur, in the Indian state of Jharkhand. Having more in common with the films of Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola than the Indian cinema we are accustomed to, Gangs of Wasseypur is an exhilarating tale of vengeance - a thrilling, beautifully shot and extremely violent journey tracing the feud between mining magnate and politician Ramadhir Singh and the Khan family, from colonial to contemporary times. Ramadhir takes on three Khan generations beginning with the industrious Shahid Khan, then his philandering son, Sardar Khan, and then Sardar's dope-addled son Faizal Khan. (We note the passage of time through the Bollywood films the family loves to watch.) The Khans are traditional gangsters: aggressive, brutal when necessary and flashy. Ramadhir Singh is more subtle and strategic. Referring to his rivals, he says, "Every fucker's got his own movie playing inside his head. Every fucker is trying to become the hero of his imaginary film. As long as there are fucking movies in this country people will continue to be fooled."

Part 1 sets up the historical context, and we see the genesis of a feud that will span generations. In colonial India, Shahid Khan loots trains and is cast out of his village as a consequence. He takes a job at Ramadhir Singh's colliery, soon moving up the ranks. As Shahid Khan becomes more powerful, Ramadhir sees the threat and sets in motion a plan that will lead to decades of violence. Shahid's son, Sardar Khan grows up to become the most feared man in Wasseypur. Foremost amongst his ambitions is the destruction of Ramadhir Singh.

Gangs of Wasseypur Part 2
Anurag Kashyap's epic, selected for Directors' Fortnight Cannes 2012, charts the decades-long conflict between two families involved in coal mining and organised crime in Wasseypur, in the Indian state of Jharkhand. Having more in common with the films of Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola than the Indian cinema we are accustomed to, Gangs of Wasseypur is an exhilarating tale of vengeance - a thrilling, beautifully shot and extremely violent journey tracing the feud between mining magnate and politician Ramadhir Singh and the Khan family, from colonial to contemporary times. Ramadhir takes on three Khan generations beginning with the industrious Shahid Khan, then his philandering son, Sardar Khan, and then Sardar's dope-addled son Faizal Khan. (We note the passage of time through the Bollywood films the family loves to watch.) The Khans are traditional gangsters: aggressive, brutal when necessary and flashy. Ramadhir Singh is more subtle and strategic. Referring to his rivals, he says, "Every fucker's got his own movie playing inside his head. Every fucker is trying to become the hero of his imaginary film. As long as there are fucking movies in this country people will continue to be fooled."

In Part 2, Wasseypur has changed, with a new generation of gangsters using increasingly sophisticated methods to fleece the state and rig elections. At the centre of this labyrinthine criminal empire is Faizal Khan, the druggie son of Sardar Khan. Faizal must fend off the young pretenders eager to muscle in on his turf, but through all the manoeuvring he remains set on one target: the wily Ramadhir Singh.

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